The Phil Lesh Quintet took the stage for the first time in five years on Monday for the Grateful Dead bassist’s first of nine shows this month at The Capitol Theatre. The lineup, also known as “The Q”, features Lesh alongside guitarists Warren Haynes and Jimmy Herring, drummer John Molo, and keyboardist Rob Barraco.

Lesh’s long-awaited “Phil-O-Ween” run of shows were originally slated to serve as an 80th birthday celebration in March 2020. The planned three-night run was one of the first events canceled as a result of the global pandemic. Over 18 months later, the belated celebration finally came to fruition and has since ballooned into a run of nine shows split up into three, three-night runs. With the return of The Q serving as the opening trio of shows, the overwhelming message was that of a triumphant return for both the band and fans alike.

Related: Phil Lesh & Friends Finish Three-Night Colorado Run In Lyons [Photos/Videos]

Coming right out of the gate, The Q picked up just where it left off with a sprawling, nearly 20-minute “Mason’s Children” to open the show. The chemistry of the band has been brewing since they first formed in 2000 for the Phil Lesh & Friends fall tour, despite a lengthy gap that began in 2003 with Lesh’s formation of The Dead alongside Bob Weir.

Phil Lesh Quintet — “Mason’s Children” — New York, NY — 10/11/21

Things slowed down a bit for “Doin’ That Rag” before Haynes took vocals on a cover of Traffic‘s “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys”, which fit a healthy portion of Miles Davis‘ “So What” into a jam sandwich with a reprise of “Low Spark”. The covers kept coming with a concise telling of The Beatles‘ “She Said She Said”, before the first dip into The Q’s original catalog with a set-closing “Night of 1000 Stars”, from the group’s 2002 studio album There And Back Again.

Returning for set two, Lesh plunged The Cap into the murky swamps of disco Dead with “Shakedown Street”. Just like the “Mason’s Children” that opened the first set, the ensemble dug deep for an expansive jam that saw significant movement from the Phil Zone as two titans of Southern rock duked it out on the musical barroom floor.

An extra-bluesy “Viola Lee Blues” came next before the eerie reflection of “New Speedway Boogie”, each towing significant jams behind them. Lesh then stepped to the mic to take vocals on Robbie Robertson‘s “Broken Arrow” prior to the band rewriting the rule book with a serene “Cryptical Envelopment” that took a detour into “Wharf Rat” before finding its partner in a short-but-sweet “The Other One”. A standalone “I Know You Rider” closed the set, once again highlighting Lesh’s proclivity to make his own musical traditions.

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As the band returned to the stage for the encore, The Q was joined by Capitol Theatre owner Peter Shapiro. The jam impresario led the crowd in a much-belated singing of “Happy Birthday” for both Lesh’s 80th and 81st trips around the sun. Phil then delivered his traditional “Donor Rap”, after which Haynes closed the show with “The Real Thing”, taken from There And Back Again.

The Phil Lesh Quintet is back again at The Capitol for the second of three shows tonight, October 12th. Phil’s October residency will continue the following Monday–Wednesday, October 18th–20th before wrapping with a final three-night run on Friday–Sunday, October 29th–31st. For a full rundown of the revolving lineups for the remainder of Phil Lesh’s residency at The Capitol Theatre click here.

Scroll down to check out a gallery of images from the show courtesy of photographer Charlie Francis as well as full-show audio thanks to taper cabintetmusic.

Phil Lesh Quintet — The Capitol Theatre — Port Chester, NY — 10/11/21